A nine-year-old soccer player was getting ready to join her teammates on the field the same way she has for the past five years. Thats’ when a referee pulled her to the side and let her know that there was a problem – her hair bears were apparently against regulation. 

Apparently, the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) has a longstanding rule against players wearing any jewelry and hair clips during games, according to Yahoo. However, Aubrey Zvovushe-Ramos has been wearing her hair braided to the side with beads for as long as she’s been playing soccer and it had never been an issue before.

The referee suggested that Zvovushe-Ramos take the beads out – like that wouldn’t take nearly an hour or more – or sit on the sidelines. The mother even offered to wrap her daughter’s hair up, but the referee said that wouldn’t be enough.

“I felt she was singled out,” her mother, Amy Zvovushe-Ramos, explained to Think Progress. “She’s the only African American on the team.”

“We go to the salon for an hour and a half — it’s not as simple as ‘pull the beads out,” she continued.

Well it pains me to have to be dealing with my current situation with the #AYSO I feel it absolutely necessary to be addressed on #internationaldayofthegirl. My 9 year old daughter, who has supported and been a participant in #AYSOsoccer for 5 years was not allowed to play in her game this past #Saturday because of her hair. My daughter has worn the same hairstyle for sports for as long as she's been playing and this is the first time it's been an issue. Her #AfricanAmerican hair is a different texture and is treated differently than #Caucasian hair. We found a child friendly style that allows her to play sports and still be a little girl. My daughter is the real #MVP because though she was publicly humiliated, she was the epitome of sportsmanship cheering her team from the bench. My husband and I combed the handbook for rules on braided hair secured with beads and found nothing. My daughter offered to tie her hair in a tight scrunchie and was denied. I have reached out to #AYSOcoorporate and have received no response. @ayso_soccer #iamnotmyhair #soccermom #soccergirl #soccer#unselfie

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Zvovushe-Ramos’ mother went on to post about the incident on her Instagram and file an official complaint with the AYSO corporate headquarters after looking through the handbook themselves. They soon received a response from someone claiming that, “there was ‘no question’ in the national office that hair beads are considered jewelry.”

All respect in the world goes out to Aubrey, who still sat on the sideline and cheered on her teammates regardless of being singled out for a rule that wasn’t enforced for years.

Photo Credit: Amy Zvovushe-Ramos Instagram